Looking outside of your own market for inspiration can be a great way of discovering new innovation ideas and this was the aim of our Accelerating British Innovation event held at the home of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and the Williams F1 team.
From F1 to refrigeration
Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures for WAE arranged for the event to be held at the home of the Williams F1 team in Oxfordshire.
WAE take their technology expertise, initially honed in the fast-changing world of F1, to work with technology businesses to help de-risk and accelerate their technical development. A great illustration of transferable tech is in the way they have used their skills in improving the efficiency of supermarket fridge cooling systems.
The impact of new innovation on old structures
Creative destruction is perhaps the last thing on your mind as you enter the superb facilities that are the home of the Williams F1 team in Oxfordshire. However it was a theme that was to run throughout this fascinating event to illuminate the exciting impact of new innovation on old structures.
Transferring insights to new sectors
A range of a speakers shared their views on their sectors and how they looked outside for inspiration. Craig Wilson from Williams in his “fireside chat” said:
We love F1 but the rules and regulations are quite static. Other applications are not bound by the same rules.
In the future of the car and urban transportation Julie Alexander, Director of Urban Development at Siemens commented:
You couldn’t just look at cars in isolation, it was how cars related to rail and other sectors, even healthcare, and how the whole smart transport concept could be made to work by cities.
Sara Bell from Tempus Energy in The Disruptive Utility discussion commented:
We are a "fluid utility". We understand the regulatory framework, then we drive a truck right through it.
Invested and investors
20 innovative high growth companies that Innovate UK has supported showcased their technology that is already, or has the potential to cut across sectors and markets. These companies were keenly analysed by over 50 investors from the Venture Capital and Corporate VC community and a similar number of large national and international corporates.
Profiles of the many of these companies are showcased on our online Growth Showcase platform.
Cross sector interest from large corporates
The large corporates came from across sectors, with the likes of Anglo American, Magna International, Jaguar Land Rover, Lockheed Martin, Johnson Matthey and Siemens illustrating the cross-sector interest at all size of organisation.
Our own contribution to the conversation
The ‘impossibility’ of emerging technologies, moderated by Neil Johnston, Head of Emerging Technologies and Industries at Innovate UK, confronted the difficulty of turning emerging technologies into successful industrial products.
Financing for accelerated innovation: Have British innovators ever had it this good?, chaired by Nigel Walker, Head of Access to Finance at Innovate UK, had some excellent contributions from Jim Totty of Sustainable Technology Investors, Simon King from Octopus Investments and James Downing from Silicon Valley Bank.
Kevin Baughan, Director of Technology and Innovation at Innovate UK, said:
Innovate UK’s goal [with the event] was to create an environment where people have the confidence to invest.
A night at the museum
The day concluded with a networking reception in Williams F1 motor museum – a fitting conclusion to a fantastic event.
Follow me on Twitter: @brucecolley1
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